Apple in February released a revamped line of MacBook Pros with a new transfer technology called Thunderbolt capable of transferring data at 10 Gbps in both directions. Now that’s undoubtedly fast as hell, and certainly faster than USB 3.0, but there are some limitations. In its current implementation, users will not be able to boot up from a Thunderbolt connected drive, whereas they can with USB and Firewire. This, however, is poised to change in the future.
In any event, Apple recently updated its iMac lineup with Thunderbolt support, and though Thunderbolt peripherals are few and far in between thus far, expect a big push towards Thunderbolt adoption in the years to come. Just don’t expect HP to join the party.
Speaking to PC World, Hewlett-Packard marketing manager Xavier Lauwaert explained, “We did look at [Thunderbolt]. We’re still looking into it. Haven’t found a value proposition yet.”
Meanwhile, HP earlier this week announced three new series of desktop PCs with ports configurable to support USB 3.0.
Lauwaert said HP didn’t see value in including Thunderbolt in desktops. “On the PC side, everybody seems to be content with the expansion of USB 3.0. Do we need to go into more fancy solutions? Not convinced yet,” Lauwaert said.
So while HP might see the two technologies as mutually exclusive, not every one believes that this is a zero sum game. Intel, for example, views the technologies as complimentary and plans to produce chipsets that will support USB 3 along with Thunderbolt beginning in 2012.
In the interim, Intel is hitting the grindstone with hardware partners in an effort to create a viable Thunderbolt ecosystem. Third parties already on board include Western Digital, Canon, Matrox, and Sonnet.